The tech that’s driving the future of car design: 6 trends to know

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Susan Meyer

Senior Editorial Manager

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Susan is a licensed insurance agent and has worked as a writer and editor for over 10 years across a number of industries. She has worked at The Zebr…

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As society advances, so does car design. With that in mind, the automotive industry has undergone a huge transformation over the past decade as car manufacturers are stepping up to the plate to deliver car models for every consumer’s lifestyle. 

When it comes to future car design, technology is the biggest driver behind new car models. Major trends show that cars of the future will be electric, autonomous, connected and sleek. In just a few years’ time, vehicles on the road could look nothing like they do today. 

Read on or skip to our infographic to see what technology is behind future car design and what features we can expect to see in new models to protect your vehicle and yourself on the road. 

What is the future of cars?

The cars of the future will have a number of benefits to the consumer and society as a whole. A few main advances we’ve seen in car design will allow for less pollution and more safety, connectivity and convenience. Below is a peek into what technology will be driving the cars of the future. 

1. Driverless technology


A self-driving car is a model that can drive itself in most, if not all, situations. This is also known as an autonomous or driverless car. These cars combine radar sensors, complex algorithms and machine learning systems to safely operate and navigate the vehicle. 

Self-driving cars create and maintain a map of their surroundings based on these sensory and control features to monitor their speed, distance from other vehicles and understanding of their road surroundings. 

What’s more, this software processes its sensory information to plot directions and send acceleration, steering and braking signals. 

2. Augmented reality


Augmented reality (AR) cars essentially use a computer within the dashboard to give drivers supplementary information on their surroundings in real time. The information displays directions, the speedometer and more, right in front of your eyes. AR also highlights objects that are most likely to become hazardous while a driver is operating their vehicle to safely avoid an accident. 

There are several car manufacturers like BMW, Jaguar and Mazda who already have AR in their models. In fact, by 2025, the global automotive AR and VR market is estimated to reach about $673 billion — a 320,000% increase in investment since 2017. 

3. Electric batteries


Electric vehicles (EVs), also known as battery electric vehicles, operate by using a battery to store electrical energy that then powers the motor. EV batteries are charged by plugging the vehicle into an electrical power source. What’s great about electric vehicles is that the Environmental Protection Agency categorizes them as zero-emission vehicles because they produce no direct exhaust or tailpipe emissions. 

Electric cars still have their kinks to work out and their efficiency heavily relies on driving conditions. For instance, extreme temperatures can reduce a car's range since more energy is used to heat or cool the inside of the vehicle. Additionally, hauling heavy loads or driving up steep inclines could also reduce the range of the car. 

4. Heads-up display windshields


In newer car designs we’ll likely see more heads-up displays (HUD). This technology projects images on the vehicle’s windshield to allow the driver to have better focus on the road. The display will essentially share the same information from your dashboard directly to your windshield. HUD was originally designed for military aircraft to display important flight data, but can now be added to modern vehicles.

5. Connection


With the continued need for digital devices and to be “plugged in” it’s no surprise that connected vehicles are the cars of the future. A connected car is one that can communicate with outside systems, allowing it to share internet access and data with other devices inside and outside of the car. 

A GPS is one example of a technology that supports connected vehicles, as it accesses the internet and other data sources to plan a route and avoid roadblocks or traffic accidents. Today, connected vehicles are being equipped with 5G receivers to create an in-vehicle hotspot, allowing passengers to access a Wi-Fi connection from inside the car. 

6. Regenerative braking


Futuristic cars to look forward to

The future is bright for car manufacturers and enthusiasts. Below are some of the top cars of the future that are currently in production.

2021 Lotus Evija


Image courtesy of Lotus Cars

  • Base price: $2,000,000
  • Year available: 2021
  • Unique features: This is the first all-electric British hypercar, complete with high-performance capabilities. This model is also the world’s first vehicle with main and dipped beam laser lighting technology.

2022 Fisker Ocean Crossover


Image courtesy of Fisker, Inc.

  • Base price: $30,000
  • Year available: 2021 
  • Unique features: This vehicle is an all-electric luxury SUV for the masses, with a large center screen that controls all of the car’s features, from its sunroof to autonomous driving functions.

2021 Mercedes-Benz VISION AVTR


Image courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

  • Base price: $67,000
  • Year available: 2021
  • Unique features: This car includes a revolutionary organic battery technology made with graphene-based organic cell chemistry, thus completely eliminating rare, toxic and expensive earth metals. Due to its materials, this vehicle is 100% recyclable.

2021 Byton M-Byte


Image courtesy of Byton

  • Base price: $45,000
  • Year available: 2021
  • Unique features: This all-electric vehicle comes with touch and gesture control, face recognition, rotating front seats and a 48-inch display to stream video content and on-demand weather forecasts.

Audi AI:ME


Image courtesy of Audi

  • Base price: TBD 
  • Year available: Concept car 
  • Unique features: The concept behind Audi's AI:ME includes a long list of high-tech features like self-driving technology and a touchscreen control panel that completely surrounds the interior. The touch panel allows the passenger to adjust the seats, temperature or lighting, as well as control the sound system and connect to the internet.

2022 Tesla Roadster


Image courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

  • Base price: $200,000
  • Year available: 2022
  • Unique features: This will be Tesla’s fastest and most powerful car to date. The electric vehicle will have three electric motors with aerodynamic engineering to reach record-setting performance and speed. 

In the near future, the cars we see on the road could start looking like something out of a sci-fi film, where driving will begin to be an experience instead of a task. Whatever the future holds for the automotive industry, we can expect it to be bright, with new technology advances focusing on both passenger safety and convenience. 

No matter your future car design preference — from high-tech dashboards to autonomous driving — be sure to equip yourself with proper car insurance to protect yourself and your vehicle.